Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

PhD Opportunity

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to undertake an exciting research project. The candidate should have a background in Biomedical Sciences/Biochemistry/Cell Biology/Molecular Biology/Biotechnology. Anticipated start date is anytime until the position is filled.

Project 1:
Potential Research Title: Anti-Cancer Activity and Molecular Mechanism of Selected Diarylpentanoids in Human Cancer Cells

Potential Research Project Description:

Curcumin analogues
Curcumin plays an important role in many integrated signaling pathways that regulate cancer development such as apoptosis, proliferation, tumor promotion, metastases, angiogenesis, inflammation and immortality. Curcumin was demonstrated to have a wide spectrum of pharmacological properties but demonstrates poor bioavailability. Based on the biological and structural characteristics, curcumin can be used as a starting point to design and develop a wide variety of curcumin analogues with similar safety profile, but increased activity and solubility. Currently, we are investigating diarylpentanoids, chemically synthesized synthetic analogues of curcumin, for their anticancer properties. We use human cancer cell lines such as colon, lung, prostate, breast and glioblastoma as models to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for their anticancer activity.

Project 2:
Potential Research Title: Chemosensitisation Effects and Mechanisms of Action of Curcumin against Selected Chemotherapeutic drugs in Human Cancer Cells.

Potential Research Project Description:

The present research proposal will focus on the chemosensitisation effects and mechanisms of action of curcumin against selected chemotherapeutic drugs in human cancer cells. The synergistic study will be designed and analysed to evaluate cytotoxicity of curcumin and selected chemotherapeutic drugs in human cancer cells either alone or in combination to demonstrate the chemosensitivity of curcumin against these drugs. We use human cancer cell lines such as colon, lung, prostate, breast and glioblastoma as models to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for their antitumor activity. Appropriate combination treatment will be selected for mechanism studies.

Supervisory Team

PhD Main Supervisor: Professor Dr Rakesh Naidu
Candidates who are interested please send your CV to

Candidates must meet the minimum admission requirements (for academic and English language proficiency) to be offered admission in the PhD degree. For consideration of scholarship, candidates must possess academic standing equivalent to a high distinction average (H1 or First Class Honours) from a recognised university. Selection for a scholarship will be based on comprehensive ranking of academic achievement, research publications, and research experience or research-related awards as determined by Monash University Malaysia.

1997 …2023

Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Dr. Rakesh Naidu is a Professor in Biomedical Science at the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia. He was a lecturer in International Medical University and Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya prior to his appointment at Monash University. He is involved in the teaching of biochemistry, genetics, and cancer. His current research focuses on the molecular biology of cancer, cancer therapeutics, and cancer venomics. He has been successful in securing several internal and external research grants in the research areas of molecular oncology and cancer therapeutics. He has published peer-reviewed research papers in several international and national journals and book chapters in cancer. He has supervised and currently supervising several graduate students including PhD and Masters over the years.

Research interests

Dr Rakesh Naidu is actively involved in cancer research. One of the research interests is to understand the molecular alterations that lead to cancer development with particular focus on breast, prostate and colon cancers. Genomics and proteomics analysis were performed on human cancer samples to determine and identify several genetics alteration that could potentially be used as biomarkers and to understand mechanisms underlying cancer development. Some of the genetic alterations noted were distinct than that reported by other investigators perhaps of different demographics and ethnic population. Currently, his research group focuses on identification and understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms of synthetic compounds and analogues derived from natural compounds as well as natural components from venoms that contribute to anti-cancer activities in human cancer cells such as cervical, prostate, colon, breast and lung. Several ‘omics’ platform technologies such as transcriptomics and proteomics are used to identify specific target mRNAs, miRNAs and proteins as well as relevant biological pathways modulated by these potential anticancer compounds. High-density microarrays, sequencing and mass spectrometry are used to achieve these outcomes which contribute to the understanding of targeted anti-cancer therapy by these compounds that may lead to future development of novel anti-cancer drugs.

Monash teaching commitment

  • Student Project Cases
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Biochemistry

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Molecular Oncology, MSc, Universiti Malaya (University of Malaya)

Molecular Oncology, PhD, Universiti Malaya (University of Malaya)

BSc(Ed), Universiti Sains Malaysia (University of Science Malaysia)

Research area keywords

  • Biomedical Science
  • Cancer Therapeutics
  • Molecular Oncology
  • Genomics
  • Transcriptomics
  • Proteomics
  • Cancer Venomics
  • Cancer Biology

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or